Anyone who has spent time in the sales profession will tell you they either love or hate Q4. The fourth quarter of the fiscal year spans from October 1 through December 31, and it’s significant because during this time many businesses have to either greatly accelerate their spending or seriously reduce it. This is where seasonality in business comes from. Experienced sales professionals in industries that typically slow during Q4 will develop tactics to hunker-down and “make it through the winter,” while those that speed up will take greater risks and more swings-at-bat then they may have during the year’s previous three quarters. The point is that Q4 is different, and must be treated accordingly. Here are some tips for sales professionals looking to successfully network and close deals during Q4 of the fiscal year.
Q4 Networking - Growth Industries
Get Involved in the Local Community: If you’re looking for end-of-year networking opportunities, look no further than your own backyard. There are a number of events and functions that take place during Q4, many of which present great opportunities to network and connect with potential customers. Attend as many Chamber of Commerce events, holiday parties, and networking mixers as you can. Not only will this help you get your foot in the door with potential customers, but it will also endear you to the local community – something that can pay dividends down the road. You can also tap into in-person networking events that focus on your industry or sales and growth topics in-general. Many times, in-person networking events become more popular during Q4.
See our upcoming networking event guide HERE.
Q4 Networking: Carpe Diem
Make the Most of Slow Days: Just because business is slow during fourth quarter doesn’t mean you can’t be productive. Use this time to catch up on your administrative tasks, return calls and emails, and work on your sales pipeline. You should also use Q fourth quarter as an opportunity to assess your previous year’s performance and set goals for the coming year. This is also a great time to reach out to your network and connect with people you may have lost touch with. Lastly, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Q4 can be a stressful time for sales professionals, so make sure you schedule some down-time and relaxation into your schedule.
Reach Out To Wish Your Network Happy Holidays
One of the best end-of-year networking tips is also the simplest – reach out to your network and wish them Happy Holidays. This shows that you’re thinking about them and helps to keep you top-of-mind. You can do this through a simple email, holiday card, or even a social media post. Whatever method you choose, make sure it’s personal and genuine. Your network will appreciate the thoughtfulness, and you never know when one of those contacts may turn into a customer down the road.
Send Your Network a Small Gift
If you really want to make an impression, send your network a small gift during Q fourth quarter. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant – a coffee mug, holiday ornament, or even a gift card will do. The key is to choose something that’s personal and thoughtful. For example, if you know one of your contacts is a big fan of the local baseball team, send them tickets to a game or a piece of memorabilia from their favorite player. Something like this shows that you pay attention to the things that are important to them, and it will endear you to them long after Q4 has come and gone.
Start Setting New Goals
Q4 is also a great time to assess your previous year’s performance and set goals for the coming year. This is also a great time to reach out to your network and connect with people you may have lost touch with. Lastly, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Q fourth quarter can be a stressful time for sales professionals, so make sure you schedule some down-time and relaxation into your schedule.
Q4 Networking - Slowing Industries
Here are some expert sales tips for professionals in industries that typically slow down during Q4. The key is to remember that just because a "growth" mindset might not be appropriate for your industry during Q4 of a particular fiscal year, it doesn't mean you should throw in the towel. There are still plenty of ways to drink, even during times of drought.
Double-Down On Customer Service
Focus on your current customers and relationships - especially during Q4! Make sure you are providing them with the best possible service and that they feel valued. This is also a great time to reach out to past clients and see if there is anything you can do for them. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to give you their business, even if it’s just for a small project.
Even if you can't reasonably expect to GAIN new customers during Q4, you can still do a great job at not losing any existing ones.
Here are some quick tips on how not to lose customers during tough financial times:
- Don't make any rash decisions. Now is not the time to be cutting corners or making hasty decisions that you may end up regretting later. - Keep communication lines open. Your customers need to know that you're still there for them, even if they're not able to buy from you at the moment.
- Get creative. There are still ways to provide value to your customers, even if they're not able to buy from you directly. Maybe there's a way you can partner with another business. Offer them a discount or some other type of perk.
- Be patient. Things will eventually turn around. And when they do, you want your customers to remember that you were there for them during the tough times.
- It’s also important to use Q fourth quarter as an opportunity to assess your previous year’s performance. This is also a great time to reach out to your network and connect with people.
Remind Your Clients (Subtly) of the Value Your Provide
You may not be able to close any big deals during Q4. But that doesn't mean you can't provide value to your clients. Make sure they know you're still there for them and that you're still working hard on their behalf. You can do this by sending them timely updates on your progress. Also let them know about any new developments in your industry, and just generally staying in touch.
Provide Your Clients with Information and Education
One way to provide value to your clients during Q4 is to keep them informed and educated about your industry. This can be done in a number of ways, such as sending them articles or brief industry updates.. You can also offer to give them a presentation or webinar on a topic related to your industry.
Q4 Networking | Conclusion
Q4 can be a tough time for sales professionals, but it doesn't have to be. There are still plenty of ways to stay busy and continue providing value to your clients. Just make sure you focus on customer service, staying in touch, and keeping your clients informed and educated about your industry. Don't throw Q4 to the wind! Keep your nose to the grindstone, and keep working so you can end the year right!